This was my first Spring grafting 50 heirloom apple trees onto rootstock. 49 took, which made me so happy. Then a deer found my stash and browsed almost all leaves off. I’m lucky none of the wood snapped! After fencing off my poor babies, I waited to see what would happen. Well, they all leafed out like crazy on the tips and are now starting to flop over… Do I just stake them up and see what happens? Wait until they’re dormant and prune? Please advise oh wise ones!
Congratulations on all your successful grafts. Those are great numbers even for apple trees. If my grafted trees are putting on growth faster than I like I usually pinch the tops off early in the year to promote branching and slow the growth some. I may come back in another month and top them again if some are still growing fast. I’m not a fan of staking trees although many growers are. To me it seems the trees almost become dependent on the stake and are not as strong as trees that get blown around by wind and have to support their own weight. Again many people swear by staking trees so I’m in no way saying not to do it I’m just saying I don’t. Good luck and please keep us updated.
I personally prefer to stake loosely for that reason. It stands to reason to me that I don’t want to really support my trees, I want to restrain them them from exceeding their limits in the worst weather.
So, if I prune the scion now will there still be viable buds to grow leaves/branches next year? I just thought if the tree chose to put on new growth only at the tip of the whip then that’s where the last bit of energy was.
Honestly, I’m thinking about planting a few below the graft to experiment with trees on their own roots as I’m not a fan of the staking idea either. Want my babies to be strong, but they are so floppy now…
This pic is a little old, with the morning dew the tops of some flop to the ground.
I don’t prune this late in the year. You may be alright without pruning or staking since fall is just around the corner. What rootstock did you use?
Yes. MisterGuy said it right.
For those little seedlings, you might prop them up with slender bamboo stakes, just until their trunks thicken up in a couple years.
Antanokva and M-111. The scion was free!!! And the rootstock a bit small so it was tricky to match up diameters/cambium. Guess I did something right, I really was expecting much more failure. Just wanted the practice. But now I can’t stop thinking about caring for them all!
I don’t stake either in most cases. There are many times where I lop off 50% of the growth to strengthen the tree and encourage lateral branching. Once the graft union is healed I let them grow quickly. We have very high winds here. Those new trees can be a problem in bad weather. It costs me a year of fruit typically to not stake trees. Time is also important and staking is very time consuming. If I needed the fruit it might be different .